GRADE LEVEL READING BY THIRD GRADE
Research shows that students who do not read well by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school than proficient readers. We spend the first eight years of our life learning to read so that we can spend the rest of our life reading to learn.
WHAT MAKES THE PROBLEM WORSE?
Students in poverty are three times more likely to drop out of school or fail to graduate on time. If they read poorly, the rate is six times greater than for proficient readers. For black and Latino students, the combination of poverty and poor third grade reading skills, makes the rate eight times greater.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
As a way to increase third grade reading scores the United Ways of Arizona and four Arizona foundations formed a statewide coalition to implement a community approach known as READ ON. This effort brings together school superintendents, nonprofit agencies and government, foundations, businesses and literacy organizations to partner in addressing the reading gap.
WHAT ARE THE HURDLES?
Far too many children from low-income families arrive at Kindergarten unprepared. They are less likely to be read to regularly or participate in high-quality early care and prekindergarten programs. As a consequence, these children may hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their middle-income peers before reaching kindergarten. It takes 1000 “lap hours” in order to arrive ready at Kindergarten to begin the formal reading process. That equals to 30 minutes of daily reading with an adult.
Too many children miss too many days of school. Research has found that one in ten kindergarten and first grade students nationwide misses nearly a month of school each year. Every hour missed of school puts these students even farther behind making it harder to reach the skill level required to successfully read by third grade.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
- The Family Friends and Neighbors Caregiver Outreach Assistance Project (FFN- COAP) is supported by a generous grant from First Things First, which provides training and educational opportunities to family, friends and neighbors that take care of children in their home. The goal is to provide access to quality early childhood experiences so our children will start school healthy and ready to succeed.
More about Education at United Way
United Way strongly supports both Early Childhood Education and Youth Development so that children will make a successful transition to adulthood. This is done with a focus on improving the quality of early childhood and after school programs, promoting early literacy, increasing access to health and nutrition services, supporting parent education, increasing the capacity of out-of-school time programs, promoting healthy lifestyle education for teens and enhancing community awareness of the importance of quality care and education.